More from Conservative conference...

soldiers: Cabinet minister Philip Hammond has launched a new 'Defence Privilege Card', giving high street discounts to service personnel. Defence secretary Mr Hammond also pledged to provide up to �300 more per pupil to state schools educating the children of service personnel, including where the parents have died while on duty.

welfare: In his speech later chancellor George Osborne will announce �1bn of investment in science and research in areas where the UK 'leads the world.' However he will also outline the need to find an extra �16bn of spending cuts in 2015/16 alone.

Council Tax: The government yesterday announced funding to help local authorities freeze council tax for a third year. Conservatives promised in 2010 to provide central government cash to councils freezing the tax for two years. Now ministers have pledged additional money through a grant, worth a 1pc increase in council tax, to authorities that hold it down for a third year. Councils that increase the tax will not be eligible. However, the bill for a Band D home in areas that take up the offer will be up to �72 lower.

Rail Fares: The government has capped the amount train companies can increase ticket fares next year and in 2014. Rail fares were due to rise in 2012, 2013 and 2014 by inflation plus up to 3pc. Ministers had already capped the rise for 2012 by inflation plus 1pc. Yesterday they announced fares would be capped at the same level for both 2013 and 2014 too, meaning commuters with an average annual season ticket will save �45 this year and next.


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